If there was one phrase I would remove from the English language it would be “Why can’t you be more like…?” From the time we’re very little we compare ourselves to others and often feel inadequate as a result. Short kids want to be taller – tall kids want to be shorter. Skinny kids want to be larger and large kids want to be skinnier. Brunettes want to be blondes and so it goes. We need to help our kids find their own unique qualities and build their confidence rather than making them feel that they aren’t good enough by comparing them to others. Imagine what this would do for the self esteem of our kids in a time when their self esteem is under constant attack.
The same holds true for this place we call home. I live in Bangor, Maine – by choice. I don’t want to hear “Why can’t Bangor be more like…?” or why “Can’t Maine be more like…?” I want Bangor to be the best Bangor it can be! Rather than apologizing for what we don’t have - lets celebrate what makes this place unique and special and stop comparing ourselves to other places. I’ve lived other places and each place has it’s own unique qualities – not unlike individuals. Let’s celebrate and enhance what we have here rather than apologize for not being like someplace else!
The same holds true if you own a small business. It’s your business. You make the rules. It should reflect who you are - your goals, desires and dreams. You need to know your strengths, your customers, find your niche and stay true to yourself and your brand. Yes you should be aware of what your competition is doing. But you shouldn’t constantly compare yourselves to them and focus on trying to be like them. I’ve seen businesses go out of business because they tried to be all things to all people in an attempt to beat out the competition and ended being nothing to anyone. It’s not about “being more like them” but rather being the best you can be.
I beg you to never ever say, “Why can’t you be more like…” whether you are talking to your kids, about your community or the business you own. Comparing ourselves to others or to positive role models can be healthy and beneficial as a way to inspire us to be the best we can be. But saying, “Why can’t you be more like…?” Gives off a negative impression that you or the place you live or the business you own is somehow not good enough and never will be.
Take a look at yourself, your kids, your community and your business and celebrate what makes all of that special, wonderful and unique. Stop apologizing for what you think is missing and focus on recognizing and enhancing what is already there - and good!